Every issue Starting Up North will profile someone in the startup and innovation community who devotes their time to multiple companies, organizations or pursuits.
It’s clear that a 40-hour work week can’t contain Amanda Heyman.
Heyman is the founding director of a legal services program for a Minnesota-based startup incubator. She’s the cofounder of her own startup. She’s an interim board member at Forge North. Oh, and she’s a wife and mom to a five-year-old. She balances her responsibilities with a combination of the organization you’d expect from an attorney and the go-with-the-flow attitude present in many startup founders.
Her relaxed attitude doesn’t mean everything is easy. “I think the hardest thing is really internalizing the fact that I have limited time and energy,” Heyman admits, “especially now that I have a kid. And I am not 22.” Balancing multiple jobs and projects is nothing new for Heyman, but at this point in her life she has learned how to have multiple priorities without burning herself out.
“I set a lot of pretty strong boundaries with myself,” says Heyman. “I try really hard not to work after my daughter comes home from daycare. I do not always meet that goal. I try really hard not to work on the weekends too much if I can. But if there is something that needs to be done, I am going to do it.”
Heyman’s “main” day job is Lunar Services, a business and legal wraparound program for Lunar Startups. Based in St. Paul, MN, Lunar Startups identifies itself as an incubator “that supports growth, connection and innovation for women, people of color, and other high potential entrepreneurs.” Lunar Services is a tailored program for Lunar Startups’ companies to get advice or help directly from Heyman or get connected with Lunar’s expert network and startup research library.
Heyman is enthusiastic that the Lunar Services model means that companies get actual legal and business services completed, not just talked about. Her long-term vision is to take the one-on-one program they’ve created and spin it out digitally around the country. “The Internet is a whole library without the librarian, as far as certain resources go. You can google and find anything you want, but you don’t know if it’s good or if you can depend on it. So, the idea would be to create a library of not only articles and forms that you can use but also webinars, online courses, live Q&A, coaching, things like that.”
It’s a significant project to which Heyman brings passion and the majority of her time. “Theoretically, [Lunar Services] is 80% of the ‘40 hours’ that I’m supposed to work a week. Yeah.” She laughs.
When not focusing on Lunar Services, Heyman is often doing strategic, legal or fundraising work for Starting 11, the live daily soccer app she cofounded.
Her workload for the startup (with five team members and multiple part-time developers) fluctuates as needed depending on where the company is focused at the moment. While she’s not full-time there, the company is run by her husband, Teague Orgeman, so, as Heyman says, there’s the possibility of a meeting 24/7.
In addition to Lunar Services and Starting 11, Heyman does legal work under her own shingle, Heyman Legal. She’s also working on a new project that may include a podcast.
It’s a lot. However, instead of trying to create the perfect “work-life balance,” Heyman subscribes to an idea put forth in the productivity book The One Thing. “One concept is about counterbalancing. The idea is you can never have the perfect balance; you can go really hard at work, then swing it back the other way. For example, I have had an insane few months, and I am staycationing for a week.”
She has additional methods for keeping her life organized and balanced. “I have actually been experimenting with time blocking literally every single thing that I do. And it has been working pretty well. I thought it would be very annoying and constraining, that it would bother me, but it is actually very comforting to know that I have the time set to do these different things, and it also helps me prioritize.”
While it requires a high level of organization and dedication to work with multiple companies and hold numerous positions, it may be a key to Heyman’s vision of growing Lunar Services. “I understand how to be a service provider for startups, and I also understand how to be a startup founder, what startups need, and how practical and applicable to everyday life you have to be to be truly helpful. So I could point you to an article that says, ‘These are the seven things you need to do to make sure you are legally compliant,‘ but to be truly helpful, I need to say, ‘Only one of those things really matters.”
As Heyman moves forward, she’s determined to keep one key thing in mind when choosing whether to pursue (or maintain) certain endeavors. “One of my key metrics about whether I would do something now is whether there are awesome people who I actually can interact with on a personal level. So, if in the future if it does not involve those people, then I am not going to do it anymore.”
Whether that one criterion is enough to help Heyman turn down future asks remains to be seen. “There are a lot of awesome people,” she admits, “so that also is not going to be enough of a constraint probably forever, but at least there is one.”